The day 29 prompt at Poetic Asides was write a “what nobody knows” poem. Maybe it’s end-of-April fatigue draining my creative juices, but at first I couldn’t get into this one at all. I took it too literally, thinking, “How do you write about something like that? Everybody knows something.” Then I considered a more colloquial take on “what nobody knows”; nobody, including me, knows exactly how I arrived at the final poem, very far from where I started:
THAT POOR WOMAN
Nobody knows how to comfort her,
her grief is so dignified. What a sweet soul,
calm and accepting, philosophical
about life’s cruel twists.
Nobody knows how she’ll manage.
He seemed to do everything
around the house, a cheerful presence
trimming hedges and puttering in his garden.
Nobody knows how such a thing
could happen–his sudden sickness,
the stumped doctors, his quick
wasting and painful end.
Nobody knows his life insurance
will pay big time. Nobody knows
she has a degree in chemistry and a talent
for concocting untraceable poisons.
Nobody knows she’s been through this
before, three dead husbands
in three states over three decades.
Nobody knows she’ll vanish right after the funeral.